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23rd May 2018, Atlanta, GA

Industry 4.0 comes to Atlanta

On the first day of the combined Techtextil and Texprocess North America shows taking place in Atlanta, Georgia this week, the high expectations currently being placed on digitisation and Industry 4.0 were most apparent.

In an opening press conference on May 22nd, Dennis Smith, president and CEO for the events, said that the 536 exhibitors from 32 countries spread over four halls at the Georgia World Congress Centre had set a new record, with exhibitors up 26% and square metres of space sold up 14%.

The ribbon cutting ceremony. © Adrian Wilson

Dominating the exhibition is the 1,300-square metre High-Tex from Germany showcase.

“The USA is one of the most important export markets for German textile companies,” said Marc Lorch of Zwissler Holding and president of the High-Tex event. “Last year German companies exported textiles worth €688 million to the USA, in addition to textile machinery worth €84 million, making it the most important market for the country outside Europe.”

Dave Gardner, of Organiser Messe Frankfurt’s partner SPESA (the Sewn Products and Equipment Suppliers of the Americas) said that his industry was happier than it had been for a very long time with the opportunities presented for the reshoring of manufacturing being enabled by new technologies.

Hightex. © Adrian Wilson

“They are ensuring that manufacturers can achieve the quality, reproducibility and speed required to thrive,” he said. “The US textile worker is now three times more productive than in 1980 and twice as productive as in 2000. US textile shipments are up 6.7% and the fashion market is now growing at 3.5-4.5%.”

Disruptive technologies on the horizon will soon become the norm, he added.

Lectra. © Adrian Wilson

He emphasised in particular the focus on microfactories, with US sewing leader Henderson and digital cutting specialist Gerber Technologies, for example, running a robot back and forth between the lines at their respective stands at the show, and Lectra introducing its new Cutting Room 4.0 Cloud-connected digital cutting solution on the first morning, among other highlights.

Robot. © Adrian Wilson

“Is there a true, 100% microfactory operating in th USA yet?” Gardner asked. “I really don’t know and that’s what I’ll be wanting to find out here. There are many examples of robotised and automated components, and a lot of people are looking at this concept with its promise of bringing automation and jobs back to where the key consumer markets are.”

Press tours organised by Messe Frankfurt highlighting the key developments at the show will be the subject of a further report in the next few days.

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